US Christmas: The Valley Path Review
The act of creating an album of a series of cohesive songs is a hard enough task itself. An even more complicated task might just be creating a cohesive album of one single track. For their latest record The Valley Path, US Christmas decided that the only proper course of action following their acclaimed 2010 release Run Thick In The Night was to create a single 40 minute track. “A true idea must be made real.” singer and guitarist Nate Hall writes, “When the idea for The Valley Path was imagined, all involved agreed it was true and went forward. Forward in thought, forward in vision, forward in action. We achieved what we wanted to achieve, and whatever is said about The Valley Path, it will stand.” Hailing from the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, US Christmas has been touring behind and releasing their own brand of heavy psychedelic blues for the last good part of the decade.
The Valley Path starts on a slow build of guitar over the sound of chirping crickets before Hall and violinist Meghan Mulhearn’s vocals begin to echo each other. Drums slowly build into a slow pulse creating a hypnotic sway with the repeating guitar riff. Things eventually cool off into a lull with twangy guitar chords giving way to an almost silent break before the band kicks back in. The second major section of The Valley Path sounds like something right out of the Neil Young songbook of the 70s. Things eventually fade back to the crickets before things get heavy and return to the original theme building into an epic closing.
The 40 minute epic is no easy task and US Christmas execute it well. The band clearly has a vision and know how to make it happen. While sometimes I think this could have worked broken into sections, as a whole The Valley Path is a well executed epic.